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Cancel direct payment of Housing Benefit to tenants

Comment 6th July 2010

A flawed policy introduced by the previous administration was direct payment of Housing Benefit to private tenants. This has led to increased difficulty for tenants in taking responsibility for these payments, and payments to landlords is only possible after an 8 week default period. This increases the burden on tenants, Local Authorities, and landlords alike.

 

I have personally seen an increase in rent defaults and an increasing reluctance to take on DSS tenants with no guarantee of income. This is a worrying change in attitude and would have a detrimental effect on the tenants who are actually in greatest need of support from the community. Local Authorities do not have the resources to scrutinise how long a Tenant has been in arrears, so that often the landlord will not receive payment until much later than 8 weeks (if at all).

Why does this matter?

This affects thousands of tenants and landlords all across the country, and represents a flawed attempt by the previous administration to 'empower' individuals. Rather, it has placed an unnecessary burden on them, and landlords and Local Authorities are suffering as a result too.

This idea is timely because there had been a suggestion of extending this disastrous scheme to involve social housing too. Scrap the legislation now, and minimise the extent of the detriment encountered thus far.


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